6. If you think there are only two options, choose the third.
So often it can seem like there are only two irreconcilable options available to you. Which do you choose? #1 or #2? Who says there are only two? It’s because you’re locked in a power struggle that it seems that way.
When I see couples stuck here, I ask them, “What is the third option?” Sometimes something will shift in the room, the atmosphere will change, and creative thinking will unfold.
7. You can be wrong even when you’re right.
There are a ton of ways to be wrong even when you’re right. Most of them fall into the category of holding onto something because it’s technically right for you individually, but wrong for the relationship.
Let’s say it’s your turn to get the new car but you know it’s more important to your spouse to drive the new car. You can exercise your “right,” but you would be wrong to do so.
8. Your partner fell in love with your essence, not your survival suit.
We all develop survival suits to make our way through the world. These are the coping strategies we have developed over time to hide our vulnerabilities (“I really think I’m stupid/ugly/incompetent/a fraud”) as we go through life. Your spouse did not fall in love with your survival suit.
Your spouse fell in love with you in the vulnerable state you showed him/her when you first fell in love, and you felt safe enough to be your true self. If you show that same self to your spouse, he/she may very well fall in love with you all over again.
9. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
It’s pretty rare that you can be both in your marriage. Connected to #4 and #7, I ask this of people when they are doggedly trying to prove their point to their spouse. Just what is the big deal with being right?
10. Marriage is where the rubber meets the road.
So don’t pull out “my friends say…” when your partner complains about something. There is nothing like marriage to force you to walk your talk.
11. Leave the kids out of it.
Don’t ever use the kids to bolster your argument with your spouse. That’s a nuclear button.
All of us are deeply sensitive to what kind of parents we are. All of us are aware of all the ways we could be better parents. We don’t need our spouse to reinforce that and we won’t be able to hear a thing our spouse says while using the kids as a weapon. So don’t do it.
Dr. Gressel can be reached via his website at joshgressel.com.
These eleven proverbs for couples can help you and your relationship a lot if you genuinely want it to work and go the long mile. Things are not always going to be easier and ideal, but these proverbs can do wonders for all the couples out there. Just try them out and see the magic for yourself.